Tag Archives: astronomy


First photo from Perseverence Mars Robot Feb. 2021
This is the first image NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back after touching down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. The view, from one of Perseverance’s Hazard Cameras, is partially obscured by a dust cover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Thursday, NASA’s Perseverence Rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars – and scientists are already studying photos transmitted across the miles of space. “A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.”

If you’re a “space geek” or wonder why “space geeks” are out there, you might want to listen to Why do Humans Want to Set Foot on Mars?

Why Do Humans streaming video title screen
Mars: When Will Humans Get There? The Economist. 2019. Academic Video Online: Premium Database. Web.

Congratulations to NASA and the Perseverence Team! For more on astronomy, see the Astronomy Subject Guide.


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Once in a Blue Moon this Weekend

For the first time since 1944, people world-wide will be able to see a blue moon on October 31st – Halloween. “The next full moon on Halloween that will be visible worldwide is expected in 2077, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.” Blue moons are, sadly, not actually blue, and refer to the occurrence of a second full moon during one month.

Photo courtesy of Pikist

With the surge in Covid cases, we’re all looking for alternate ways to mark this holiday safely. Why not moon-gaze in your back yard?

For more on moon lore, check out NASA’s What is a Blue Moon? Also, take a look at the Library’s Astronomy Subject Guide for more!

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Star Gazing in Michigan

Meteor CollageStart now to plan your (safe and socially-distant) star-gazing nights this summer. Find a place far from the city lights on a cloudless night.

  • Delta Aquarid Shower  produces about 20 meteors an hour from July 12 to Aug. 23, and peak July 28-29.  The meteors radiate from the constellation Aquarius and are best viewed after midnight and before dawn.
  • The Perseid Shower runs from July 17 through August 24, with the best viewing expected August 11-13. They can best be viewed from Dark Sky Preserves in Michigan State Parks.

Meteors look gorgeous shooting across the sky, but meteors and our planet have a history. Find out by watching Big History: Deadly Meteors. Logon with your last name and 7-digit Raider number.



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Dog Days of Summer?

Dog Days of SummerAccording to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “the Dog Days of Summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest of the stars. This is soon after the Summer Solstice, which of course also indicates that the worst summer heat will soon set in.”

Try lakeside / beach time with your dog (and family?) to “take the edge off”  July heat, or, grab a telescope some night and look for Canis Major (Big Dog) with Sirius shining brightly. And take a look at the Astronomy Subject Guide.


Canis Major

Canis Major



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Grand Rapids-born Astronaut Back on Earth!

Christina Hammock Koch, a NASA astronaut, landed back on Earth in Kazakhstan this morning after serving 328 days aboard the International Space Station. Koch now holds the record for longest single spaceflight in history by a woman. She returned with two of her colleagues, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of  the European Space Agency.

Koch was born in Grand Rapids and raised in North Carolina where she  earned  BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics, and a MS in Electrical Engineering from NC State.  Koch gained popularity by sharing her beautiful photos of the Earth.

You might have heard a whoosh of noise this morning – undoubtedly made by hundreds of Tina’s relatives on “the Ridge” in Comstock Park breathing a sigh of relief that she has arrived home safely.

For more on astronomical news, check out the Astronomy Subject Guide.

Tina Koch lands on Earth



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